The term 'mental illness', no matter how you slice it, carries so much unnecessary baggage that you just wish we could come up with new labels, or somehow de-stigmatize the old ones.
Play with me for a minute. Let’s re-brand mental illness as mental diabetes. Watch what happens.
There are different kinds of diabetes, but in general the problem is regulating blood-sugar levels.
Mental diabetes comes in different forms, but in general has to do with problems regulating thoughts and emotions.
Some cases of diabetes can be controlled with medication. Some cases can be controlled by diet. Some can be controlled by a combination of both.
Same goes for mental diabetes. Some cases need medication. Some cases need therapy or coaching, which is a diet of healthy thoughts and behaviors. Some cases need both.
Which would you rather have, mental illness, or mental diabetes?
The challenge is we feel we are mentally ill, rather than we have a mental illness. It’s one thing to say, “My foot is broken.” It’s something radically different to say, “I am broken.”
The opportunity and the stigma of mental illness both stem in part from our astonishing ability to change and heal. The brain can change in ways the pancreas cannot. If we can't change, is it our fault?
We don’t ask this of someone with physical diabetes.
That’s why it’s so hard and so brave to come forwards and tell your story and do what you need to do to make your life work. It’s not just about the heavy stuff like depression, anxiety and mental illness. It’s about joy, love, awe and gratitude. It’s about being a love machine and a light to those around you. It’s about telling the truth and setting yourself free, and helping those around you to do the same.
Check out Joey Pants and help yourself to a great day.